Every now and then, you may notice that one of the employees at your small business is not performing up to his or her usual standards. Before you start thinking about termination, there are definitely ways that you can motivate that employee to get back to providing a higher level of quality.
Here are some tips for turning an under-performing employee back into a great one:
1. Don’t beat around the bush; address the problem when it arises.
The longer you wait to address the problem, the harder it will be to remedy it and the more likely it will spread to other people in the office, causing resentment or additional under-performance. Take action as soon as you realize there is a problem so that you can solve it before it festers.
2. Figure out why the employee is under-performing.
There are any number of reasons why an employee may be losing motivation with his or her work. Maybe they are simply a bad fit for the job, and lack the necessary skills to do well. Maybe there is some external factor that has the employee distracted. Perhaps the duties of the job aren’t challenging enough for the employee. Whatever it is, it’s important that you uncover the cause so that you can more effectively treat the problem.
3. Talk through the problem with the employee.
Be upfront with the employee; tell him or her that you believe there is a problem, and why their actions have an impact on the rest of the business. Emphasize that you would like to help them solve the problem. Give them a chance to brainstorm solutions to that problem, as well.
4. Coach the employee in ways to improve his or her performance.
Come up with specific goals and improvements, and monitor the progress on those goals. Be sure to follow up with the employee consistently so that they know you are invested in helping them achieve these goals and improve their performance.
5. If all else fails, take action.
If there are no improvements after you have taken all of these steps, you need to be more firm with your approach to the issue. Explain the consequences of the employee’s under-performance. Be careful in your consideration of potential disciplinary action; while occasionally you will have no choice but to fire an employee, realize that action has an impact on the rest of your business.